French Rafale jets launched an assault against Royal Navy flagship HMS Albion as her task group passed the Brittany peninsula to allow French pilots to practise their anti-ship tactics and the Royal Navy to practice defending against air attack.

According to the Royal Navy in a news release, Albion is leading the Littoral Response Group (Experimentation) deployment, comprising destroyer HMS Dragon, amphibious support ship RFA Lyme Bay and elements of 3 Commando Brigade.

“The ships are on a three-month deployment to the Mediterranean to test the concepts, equipment and practicalities of the Future Commando Force, as well as conducting traditional exercises and operations with NATO and other allies and partners in the region. Passing Brittany brought the group well within range of the Rafales, based at Landivisiau Naval Air Station near Brest when they’re not embarked as the striking power of France’s flagship, carrier FS Charles de Gaulle.

And lifting off from Lann-Bihoué air base on the outskirts of Lorient was an E-2 Hawkeye airborne early-warning and control aircraft, which spent a few hours looking for the naval group. When the Hawkeye’s crew located the shipping, they directed the Rafales in to make their attack runs, coming in with the sun at their backs – a classic fighter tactic. As the aircraft were detected, Albion’s Combined Operations Room burst into a flurry of controlled activity. Systems hummed and headsets buzzed as sailors responded to the growing threat.

In theory Dragon and her Sea Viper missiles should take out incoming jets – or any rockets they fire – at long range. Should that fail, the task group has numerous automated Phalanx Gatling guns which spew out a supposedly-impenetrable wall of lead up to around one kilometre from each ship, decoys and, as a last resort, hand-operated machine-guns and SA80 rifles. Both sides were able to test their attacking and defensive tactics and manoeuvres during the successive waves of raids.”

More than 1,000 sailors and Royal Marines are sailing to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea aboard amphibious assault ship HMS Albion, destroyer HMS Dragon and amphibious support ship RFA Lyme Bay.

The Royal Navy say that while deployed the ships will test the new and experimental Littoral Response Group concept (which replaces the UK’s long-standing Amphibious Task Group) and shape the Future Commando Force and evolution of the Royal Marines into a hi-tech raiding and strike force.

You can read more about the deployment of HMS Albion and her task group here.

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Would be interesting to know the result.

Did we have a falklands mk2 were the jets got through the defense bubble or was the t45 able to track and target them at range.


…and did they know our missile profiles/defence capabilities? (sic)
Not saying the Frenchies would attack us for real 🙂


I am sure that the Russians and most of our adversaries know it also.

Whoever we went to war with, would probably get it leaked to them by nations that would benefit from us losing or having a difficult job.

Having a nation with good knowledge of our capabilities mock attack us is a big positive,as it allows lessons to be learnt.

Whether there rules of engagement etc meant that it was an unrealistic attack is another question or if we have the cash to fix the issues.

Meirion X

Our adversaries do Not know the most vital bits of RN capabilities. That is why that information is not in the public domain.

Which allie do you think is leaking info?


You really think that this information has not been hacked/purchased by every major nation?

I suspect the only people that don’t know the details is the public, because i fear if it was released then the government would be forced to explain why there were known capability issues.


It’s the spy game, if you look at how good the west and Russia were at stealing each other tech in the cold war era, you can easily see that moving into the digital era that it would be much much easier to steal, not to mention that the human part of the chain is easier than ever to buy.


Does anyone know why this is even happening all I know is if they want the Queen please take her. What’s that you say you want to rid us of our dictatorship almost government please please take them too. You want to destroy all evil horrible tyrants to end world poverty well that makes two of us. We scramble eggs and there’s more action doing that than some toffee nosed twat flying about all “chocks away old boy” whatever we don’t need defensive capabilities we need rid of the evil that causes the attacks


Come on mate during the Falklands was just inappropriate radars! When the Exeter (which was a batch 2 type 42) the results were pretty good. Even blew up an exocet!


One lesson the Falklands taught us was the lack of close range AAA. This was briefly rectified but today is actually worse as apart from the Phalanx, the stations which once would’ve had 20mm Oerlikons are occupied with Bushmaster 25mm guns which have a terribly low rate of fire completely unsuited to AA work except against slow helicopters. I think this is a line of defence badly neglected. Miniguns & GMPGs are much shorter ranged & lack the punch of 20mm+ calibres. The proposed 57+40mm fit on the T31s is better, though there I’d rather see a decent size medium… Read more »


and that assumes that Phalanx is still up to the job, the US don’t appear to think it is, as they have been switching over to seaRAM


Not really. US still uses Phalanx in great numbers.


New US Frigate does not have Phalanx.

That is a signal since the FFG it will be an important component of future US Navy. But there is no mystery to that, 20mm rounds have low ballistic capability.
Italians even reinvested from 40mm Breda-Bofors for the 76mm guided rounds.


In the majority of cases where a ship has been hit with a missile the ship’s Phalanx was never turned on.


As a non-Navy person, I’m a bit worried that we are still (post-Falklands) mentioning GPMGs and SA80s for close-in defence. I get the old Phalanx thing and the new SeaCeptor and SeaViper/Ageis stuff, but what about incoming multiple low-value threats in the 1 to 5 mile bubble (e.g. Iranian fast boats, aircraft, drones, or missiles)? Even in WWII there was radar-guided Bofors/PomPoms etc. Or am I being stupid?


If the main SAM system is leaky or out of action, the next layer is the main gun, though some say our 4.5″ is poor v aircraft. Then the Phalanx up to 1,000m. You’re right though that AAA is poor on our warships. The 30mm now used are really only fit for stopping small fast boats as that’s their design & it has a very low rate of fire. GPMGs & SA80s are mainly for close protection against small boat attacks. Leaders assume, quite recklessly in my opinion, that the SAMs will do brilliiantly & Phalanx will take out anything… Read more »


In the real world I presume our “Dragon Fire” directed energy stuff is still a way off. In my head I have a concept design for a 40mm x 6-barrel gattling gun system Think a Bofors on steriods. Laser-range, proximity fuses. Stuff it – even do a quad-mount version. Call it “Idris” (the dragon). Relatively low-tech but it would keep the natives quiet.


Don’t get hung up on lasers. They will be short range against slow targets. The maritime environment does not make a good place to use lasers. Many of the USA laser tests are done in white sands which is clear dry desert air at 4000ft altitude… That is not Representative of misty, wet sea level conditions. The new lasers going in on USN ABs are for the most part short range dazzlers with a short range kinetic effect effective against low altitude drones or surface speed boats. The days of lasers dropping missiles at long range are a long way… Read more »


But the guns on a T31 need trackers and directors to point them at a target. What you have done is introduced the same single point of failure that say sea wolf or sea dart had. You have changed nothing except for the kinetic kill mechanism on the end of them. As I said the new missiles on RN vessels are active homers so they don’t need trackers and hence the kill ratio on the new systems is far higher than on the old systems.

Paul T

AlbertStarburst -The French Navy have the option of a Mistral Launcher on the Hangar Roof of their Horizon Class Ships as a cheap Last Ditch CIWS,id guess that our Warships might carry some Starstreak ManPads just in case,better than an SA80 or GPMG but obviously cheaper than an Aster or CAAM for threats that dont need them.Blowpipe was used in such a role in the Falklands with (very) limited success.


Well we need something to plug the gap.

Don’t get me going on Blowpipe and SeaDart and a UK arms industry that sells to countries likely to then use them against us one day… or so-called allies handing over the secret missile codes when push came to shove…

Supportive Bloke

Respectfully I would say that the situation is to very different. All the RN fighting vessels other than T45 have CAMM which I do believe in. So rather than having a smattering of decent(ish) AA missiles there is a bubble over the whole task group as the ranges are now very decent. Second T45 Aster is at a totally different level to T42 Dart. Thirdly Dart as deployed in ‘82 was a very different beast to Dart when it was retired. Mod0 Dart was pretty primitive in electronics and had zero on board computational ability – that changed radically through… Read more »


We still had valves in MK 6 turrets for a while!! I was on Brum during her first refit when Dart received its first major upgrades to the handling system. From there on it did get a lot better, better warheads, fuses etc.

Supportive Bloke

Wouldn’t Brum have had the Mk8 turret?

The Mk6 was on the Counties and before?

Although my memory may be playing tricks.

Supportive Bloke

If you ever fired Blowpipe you would understand just how useless it was. The first problem is that everyone using a manpad instinctively follows the target with the manpad. Right? Wrong!! With blowpipe you didn’t do that you used a stupid joystick/finger stick to try and centre the Crosshairs on the target. The issue with that was that it gave a very narrow Useful firing window – you had to successfully guess a lot of parameters using your eyeballs to time the shot. Needless to say the MK1 eyeball isn’t that great at carrying this out. The next problem was… Read more »


Nobody has mentioned the dark arts of EW. These go hand in hand with ASM tactics. Chaff Distraction and Seduction patterns, IR decoys, jammers, floating seduction decoys, off board jammers. Then there are the ESM systems that give you warnings well ahead of any radar that something is inbound. Missiles are now a lot better than the Falklands and a big advantage on RN vessels is that most are now active homes. With the exception of updating the missiles in flight via data link there are no trackers involved which has removed a whole level of single point of failure.… Read more »


Big respect to Gunbuster and all on this board and your great knowledge. All I am saying (to clarify) is: 1) I perceive an issue about defence against relatively low-value targets in the 1 to 5 mile bubble. I was just suggesting something that would be another tool in the toolbox for this – low tech and not rely of lasers to harm but to help track maybe – and send shed loads of fragmentation shells to form a lethal 3D corridor through which a missile would have to pass, or other shells for surface craft etc. and without the… Read more »


SA-80 as a last line of defense, god help us.


What i would like to know is who actually makes these design and specification/purchasing decisions. Who is responsible. I want names and addresses and where do they sleep at night. When it all goes tits up I bet they are know-where to be found.


I dont understand why we are using 30mm. IMHO they are a waste of space and need ripping out and replacing with 57mm deck mounted for the carriers and T45. Smaller vessels could use 40mm or in some cases keep the 30mm.


So where will you fit a 40mm in a T23, T26 or a T45.? Weapon fits are a lot more involved than rip it out and bolt on some thing else. Is there sufficient power for the mounts. Will the deck need strengthening If you lose power does the mount still work… A 30mm does it has battery back up… Does the mount need cooling for the magazine. Is it going to need a radar tracker then if so what about mutual interference of the radars on the ship and any radars in a task group. Where will the trackers… Read more »


All extremely valid questions and would have to be catered for in the design criteria for some sort of 40mm system, and as I say, big respect Gunbuster to your experience in these maters.

So, in my ignorance of real-world RN stuff, are you saying/can you reassure me that in reality there is not an issue covering low-value multiple threats in the 1 to 5 mile bubble?

Paul T

Might a simple swap of the Bushmaster 25mm Mount for an Oerlikon KBA 25mm system make more sense ?.